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Russell Brand - love him or hate him, he's here to stay!

Updated on September 10, 2014

Everything you ever wanted to know about Russell Brand...but were afraid to ask!

Russell Brand inspires great passion. People either love him or hate him and they do either passionately. I have to say that I absolutely adore him but I do concede that not everyone does.

Which is a shame because he is easily one of the hottest men on the planet, highly articulate, hugely eloquent, thoughtful, interested and interesting and just downright adorable.

He has also done a lot and is multi talented. He's a fabulous stand up comedian, a great actor, a wonderful raconteur and has a wonderful singing voice.

So, even if you think you hate him - have a browse through this article and let's see if we can change your mind.

If you love him - just gaze with awe at the lovely pictures. Oh, the hours I spent searching - I loved every moment!!!

Wow - the boy grew up HOT!

Russell Edward Brand was born on 4th June 1975 in Essex, England. His parents, Barbara and Ronald divorced when baby Russell was 6 months old. Russell has said his childhood was 'isolated and lonely'. He had quite a rough time - he admitted in an interview that he was sexually abused by a tutor when he was only seven years old. A year later, his Mother developed cancer of the uterus and then a year after that, breast cancer. Russell was (and is) extremely close to his mother and this must have been devastating for him. His Mum had to undergo treatment and while she was in hospital, Russell lived with relatives.

He suffered bulimia at the age of 14. At 15, he made his theatrical debut at his school, Grays School Media Arts College. He played Fat Sam in a school production of Bugsy Malone. He loved it and got some work as an extra.

By the time Russell was 16, his mother was in ill health again, this time with lymphoma and Russell left home as he was also having arguments with his Mother's partner, who lived with them.

In the same year, Essex council paid for him to attend the Italia Conti Academy in London.

Many famous brits started off there, including Derek and Julianne Hough, Tracey Ullman and believe it or not, Noel Coward. Russell managed to get a few small parts on TV.

Russell gets into drugs... - ...but he's clean now!!!!!! Well done Russ xxx

It was around this time that Russell first got into drugs - he used cannabis, speed, LSD and ecstasy. Russell's father, a photographer, wasn't a stable influence on his young son, although Russell has described him as "the coolest Dad in the world". He might have been cool but Russell had to endure the roller coaster of his father arriving at school to pick him up in a Porsche one day...and then suddenly being so poor that he would have to move in with his own mother again. Russell's father married again, twice.

In 1995, at the age of 20, Russell was accepted to the Drama Centre in London and decided to focus on comedy. His first major stand-up was in the final of the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year in 2000. He finished fourth but his performance attracted a lot of attention. In the same year, he appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe (an annual hotbed of new talent that has spawned many great careers).

Four years later, Russell performed in the Edinburgh Festival. His one man show entitled Better Now, featured a personal account of his addiction to heroin. The following year, he returned with a show called Eroticised Humour.

Russell's Dickensian Gent or S&M Willy Wonka phase - ...gosh, I miss it!

Russell had his first taste of TV presenting on a show called Dancefloor Chart, for MTV. It was a plum job, showing nightclubs in the UK and Ibiza. Russell managed to mess up big time and was fired. MTV had no choice. Russell had brought his drug dealer into their studios and then topped that off by coming to work the day after 9/11 dressed as Osama bin Laden.

In 2002, Russell got together with Matt Morgan (who would work with him later on BBC Radio Two). They wrote a comedy / documentary called RE:Brand which aimed to challenge taboo subjects.

Two years later, Russell hosted Big Brother's Big Mouth. The show followed Big Brother 5 and was a platform for famous guests as well as the public to say what they thought of the activities inside the house. Russell issued a statement thanking the producers of the show for "taking the risk of employing an ex-junkie twerp".

During this time, he made his first appearance as a guest on The Jonathan Ross Show.

Russell Brand's first appearance on Jonathan Ross 12 05 2006 - Part One of Two

This was the first time that Russell really caught our eye here in the UK.

Part Two of Two...the final (and funniest) part of this great interview. I must have watched this a thousand times!

2006 A huge year for Russell

In 2006, Russell performed in his first nationwide tour. It was called Shame and contained many embarrassing and humorous incidents from his life – as well as the way the press and media had behaved towards him since he became famous. That show was released on DVD, re-titled Russell Brand: Live

Russell was on the up and up. MTV took him back and he presented a chat show called 1 Leicester Square, with guests including Tom Cruise, Uma Thurman, The Mighty Boosh and Boy George.

He performed at the Secret Policeman’s Ball at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 2006. The show was a benefit for Amnesty International organised by Eddie Izzard, who also performed.

Russell Brand Live - a great performance from 2006

Russell Brand, snake-hipped dandy, self-confessed S&M Willy Wonka and the country's finest stand-up comedian. Filmed in London during his sell-out 2006 tour, this sensational show is the heartbreakingly funny DVD debut from the UK's hottest comedy star. EXTRAS: Sketches and clips from early in Russell's career, with Trevor Lock and Matt Morgan; THE RUSSELL BRAND SHOW, behind the scenes film of the BBC6 Music Radio show; MEET THE WEATHERCLERKS, the last word in reality TV.

Brand V Geldof at the 2006 NME Awards

Russell found himself in hot water after a caustic reply to an insult from Boomtown Rats singer and creator of Live Aid, Bob Geldof.

Geldof accepted an award from Russell and said, almost as an aside, "Russell Brand - what a c**t". As Geldof left the podium, Russell commented to the audience (who had heard Geldof's insult), "Really, it's no surprise that Geldof is such an expert on famine. He has, after all, been dining out on I don't Like Mondays (the Boomtown Rats big and only hit) for 30 years".

2007 was even bigger for Russell. Another nationwide tour called Russell Brand: Only Joking came out on DVD renamed Russell Brand: Doin' Life. He also hosted the BRIT Awards and hosted one hour of the BBC charity telethon, Comic Relief. Despite his spat with Geldof, he also presented some of Live Earth, from Wembley Stadium in London.

Later that year, Russell hosted Russell Brand's Ponderland on Channel 4 TV in the UK. The show was very popular and returned for a second series the following year.

He co-hosted an evening of gigs to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust. His co-host was Noel Fielding of Mighty Boosh fame.

Russell rounded off a successful year by performing stand-up to Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip in the Royal Variety Performance and with a showing of a documentary that he and Matt Morgan had made called Russell Brand On the Road. It was inspired by Jack Kerouac's novel, On the Road.

Russell Brand - Doing Life Live

Filmed at the Hackney Empire during Russell Brand's sell-out tour of 2007, Doing Life Live contains all the unique, high octane and hilarious style that the UK's sexiest and funniest comedian is famous for - this is sensory extravaganza that you just can't afford to miss. Roadshow. 2009.

Russell Brand's Ponderland

The UK's hottest comedian is back with his BAFTA nominated TV series. Russell Brand ponders various issues in his own inimitable way. Issues include holidays, love, science, crime, childhood, and sport. Not to be missed live gigs from Russell with over 40 BONUS minutes of unseen stand-up - a must-own feast of comedy for every fan!

The Infamous 2008 MTV Video Music Awards

Yep - Russell couldn't just go out there and be funny and charming. He had to induce death threats with his comments regarding George W. Bush and the Jonas Brothers.

He can't have done too badly as MTV asked him back the following year because ratings had shot up by 20%. He duly hosted the event at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Ratings were the best since the 2004 VMA's - which ironically had no host.

The following year, Russell made a special for Comedy Central called Russell Brand in New York. He also managed to fit in a tour of the UK, the US and Australia. The tour was called Russell Brand: Scandalous. Four of the tour dates were performed to raise money for Focus 12, a drug charity which Russell patrons.

Russell hosted Saturday Night Live on 12 February 2011.

Russell Brand in New York City

DVD
The unexpected star and scene-stealer of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and the controversial host of the 2008 VMA's, Russell Brand makes his Comedy Central debut with Russell Brand in New York City.
Detailing the difficulty of handling his new found fame in America, recounting the time he meet the Queen and instructing women on how to approach him, Russell Brand proves he's the hottest thing to come out of Britain since The Beatles.

Russell's early acting roles

2002 TV Cruise of the Gods

White Teeth

2005 Blessed. Russell took the part of Tommy. The BBC sitcom was written and directed by Ben Elton, who created The Young Ones and is also an accomplished author.

2007 Russell played an ex-con in Cold Blood for ITV in the UK

2006 A small part in a movie called Penelope.

Breakthrough role for Russell

Russell played Flash Harry in the popular 2007 film, St Trinians.

Russell in St Trinian's - Starring Rupert Everett, Colin Firth and of course, Russell Brand

St. Trinian's
St. Trinian's

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Russell's first big film in America

He got his biggest break the following year in the wonderful Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

He played Aldous Snow, the boyfriend of Sarah (played by Kristen Bell).

The character was originally intended to be an author but following Russell's astonishing audition (which you can watch below) Aldous became a rock star.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall - a comedy classic. Every DVD collection should have one! - Watch the Unrated version that you couldn't see in theaters!

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Unrated)
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Unrated)

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Russell's incredible audition for Forgetting Sarah Marshall - ...an audition masterclass!

The sound is slightly quiet (but not annoyingly so). You may want to just turn your speakers up a bit.

Further Films

Russell followed this up by working with Adam Sandler in the film Bedtime Stories, made by Disney.

He appeared again as Aldous Snow in Get Him to the Greek, directed by Nicholas Stoller (who had also directed Sarah Marshall) and Judd Apatow.

Russell played Trinculo in Shakespeare's The Tempest.

Russell did the voiceover for Universal's movie Despicable Me - playing the part of Dr Nefario. He is lined up to voice for the sequel in 2013.

Russell played himself in an episode of The Simpsons called 'Angry Dad: The Movie'

He voiced the main character called E.B. in the animated film Hop in 2011.

Bedtime Stories - starring Adam Sandler, Courteney Cox, Keri Russell, Jonathan Pryce, Richard Griffiths and Russell Brand

Funnyman Adam Sandler stars in Walt Disney Pictures' Bedtime Stories, the magical family comedy that's packed with adventure and lots of heart. When Skeeter Bronson (Sandler) babysits his sister's (Courteney Cox) children, his imagination runs wild as he dreams up elaborate bedtime stories always casting himself as the hero. Entranced, the children add their own ideas to these once-upon-a-time tales of heroics and chivalry. Then magic happens. These nighttime fantasies become Skeeter's daytime realities, leading him on a real-life adventure in search of his own happy ending. Filled with colorful characters, humor and whimsy, this heartwarming comedy will enchant your entire family again and again.DVD

Get Him to the Greek
Get Him to the Greek

Watch instantly (rent or buy) on Kindle Fire HD, Xbox 360, PS3, Roku, TiVO or other Amazon Instant Video HD compatible devices

 

The Tempest

starring Helen Mirren, Russell Brand, Alfred Molina, Djimon Hounsou, Alan Cumming et al.

The Tempest
The Tempest

Watch instantly on your PS3, Xbox, Kindle Fire, iPad, PC and other devices.

 

Hop

starring James Marsden, Russell Brand, Kaley Cuoco and Hank Azaria

"The laughs don't stop in this movie treat for all ages!" - Pete Hammond, Boxoffice.

Hop
Hop

Watch instantly on your PS3, Xbox, Kindle Fire, iPad, PC and other devices.

 

Russell stars in two more great movies - firstly...Arthur

In 2011, Russell starred as Arthur in a remake of the classic original starring Dudley Moore.

The movie also features Helen Mirren, Jennifer Garner, Nick Nolte and Greta Gerwig.

Arthur

Starring Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Jennifer Garner, Greta Gerwig and Nick Nolte.

Arthur (2011)
Arthur (2011)

Watch instantly (rent or buy) on Kindle Fire HD, Xbox 360, PS3, Roku, TiVO or other Amazon Instant Video HD compatible devices

 

...and secondly, Rock of Ages

This is just a fabulous movie. Just. Fabulous.

Tom Cruise pulls of an epic portrayal of the rock star, Stacee Jaxx.

And Russell plays...well, you'll just have to watch it and see.

Let's just say that he plays in some unforgettable and totally hilarious scenes with Alec Baldwin. Baldwin as you've never seen him before.

And the music is wonderful!!!

Rock of Ages Blu-ray

Special Features
- Rock of Ages: Legends of the Sunset Strip
- The Stories We Sing: Defining A Decade
- Play All
- The 80's Look: Defining A Decade
- It's All About The Moves
- Defining A Decade
- Stripping Miami: Defining A Decade
- The Tease: Defining A Decade
- If You Build It, They Will Rock It: Defining A Decade
- Connection to The Music: Defining A Decade
- So It Started In A Bar: Defining A Decade
- Any Way You Want It
- Visit Florida
- Selected Songs

Ones to watch for...

Russell's upcoming projects include another film with Adam Sandler,

a film adaptation of Rentaghost (a hit TV programme in the 1970s),

a remake of the movie Drop Dead Fred

and another film project that he has written with Matt Morgan about a priest who is really a con-man.

Radio Career... - ...you know where this is going

In 2002, Russell hosted a show with friend Matt Morgan on Xfm, an Indie Rock station in London. Russell read pornographic content live on air (the show went out on a Sunday afternoon) and was fired.

Russell's show on BBC Radio 2 drew around half a million listeners. In October 2008, Russell and his co-host for that show, Jonathan Ross (the BBC's major chat show host) made phone calls to actor Andrew Sachs, beloved for his part as Manuel the Spanish waiter in John Cleese's epic Fawlty Towers. The pair left increasingly hysterical messages on Sach's answerphone, mentioning Russell's liason with Sach's granddaughter (who was part of a dancing group called The Satanic Sluts). The Mail newspaper spearheaded a campaign against the pair. Hundreds of people who had not even heard the broadcast made complaints.

Russell voluntarily resigned from his radio show and Jonathan Ross was suspended for 3 months by the BBC.

The crazy thing was that the show had been pre-recorded and should never have been put on air. The BBC was fined £150,000 for airing the calls.

Sach's grand daughter, Georgina Baillie, signed an exclusive media deal with Max Clifford, PR guru to the stars.

Baillie said she regretted calling for the pair to be sacked. "I was really angry ... but I think the suspension was good enough. So I'm feeling a bit gutted really about the whole thing." She added "I think a world without Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand would be a very sad, dull place."

Baillie told Channel Five in the UK that she thought the pair should be reinstated by the BBC, which received more than 37,500 complaints after their phone call to Sachs on a late-night Radio 2 show. By the following day, a Facebook group formed to oppose the BBC's reaction to the crisis, had clocked up more than 43,000 members.

Russell's a great writer!

From 2006 until 2009, Russell wrote a successful football column in The Guardian newspaper. The columns were released in a 2007 book – Irons in the Fire.

A second compilation called Articles of Faith was published the following year.

Russell's Booky Wooks...great autobiographies

Written by Russell himself. As he said on The Jonathan Ross Show "They wanted me to have a ghostwriter but I thought that would be unsettling...so I wrote it myself and it's the better for it". And it is. Much better.

Russell’s first autobiography, imaginatively titled My Booky Wook was published in 2007 and had rave reviews. A critic in The Observer newspaper wrote "Russell Brand's gleeful tale of drugs and debauchery in My Booky Wook puts most other celebrity memoirs to shame".

Russell’s compilation Articles of Faith was the first of a £1.8 million two book deal that he had signed with Harper Collins in 2008. Following the huge success of My Booky Wook, HarperCollins published Russell’s second autobiography, Booky Wook 2: This Time It’s Personal in 2010.

Booky Wook 2: This Time It's Personal
Booky Wook 2: This Time It's Personal

Paperback

Review:

Reviews of Booky Wook 2: "Devotees will be devouring Russell's outrageous Booky Wook 2: This Time it's Personal. This man loves to offend and to challenge the reader by being incredibly funny." The Times "This book [...] reminds you of how funny and original he is; also how British; also what a loss to the old motherland." Sunday Times Culture "A witty and engaging raconteur, Brand makes no apologies and takes no prisoners throughout this lively account of his (sex) life and career." Hot Press

 
Booky Wook 2: This Time It's Personal
Booky Wook 2: This Time It's Personal

Kindle Edition

From the back cover of the book:

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the bookstore . . . Booky Wook 2!

As incredible as it may seem, the honesty, the mayhem, the lascivious scandal of Russell Brand’s magnum opus, My Booky Wook, are surpassed by Booky Wook 2! This time it’s personal, as Brand unabashedly charts his rise from crack-house junkie to Hollywood star while indulging in sexual excesses that make Caligula seem like a prudish spinster—encountering thousands of women, often three or four at a time (for efficiency), on his quest to find true love. Here is the riveting story of what happens when insatiable desire meets limitless opportunity and a punk from the wrong side of the tracks is given the keys to the palace. Indeed, Brand’s riot of self-indulgence would be rampaging still were it not for a well-aimed bottle tossed to the head, delivered from the hand of the exquisite Katy Perry, one of the world’s biggest pop stars.

Can true love conquer all? Is it a force more powerful than the raging libido of an insatiable professional madman? The answer lies within . . . Booky Wook 2!

 

And he has a fabulous singing voice too... - ...is there nothing this man can't do?

Russell has recorded the following:

'When I'm Sixty Four' cover for the 40th Anniversary of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

'We've Got to Do Something' and 'Inside of You', sung as Aldous Snow with his band Infant Sorrow, for the soundtrack of Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Sixteen songs for Get Him to the Greek - also as Aldous Snow

We've Got To Do Something
We've Got To Do Something

This is probably my favourite...the video is below

 

We've Got To Do Something - Russell singing as Aldous Snow from Infant Sorrow

Classic Infant Sorrow - the band that Aldous Snow fronts in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

This video has it all. Russell singing so brilliantly and looking as hot as it is possible for a man to look.

Part of me thinks he could have a great career with such a voice and such a look - but I don't want him going anywhere near drugs.

Olympics 2012 in London

Russell sang during the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London .

He sang two songs,

Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka

and I Am the Walrus, a Beatles song.

Personal facts you may not know about Russell...

In April 2012, Russell gave evidence at a House of Commons Select Committee. He spoke about his own battle with addiction to MPs who were reviewing the Government's drugs policy.

He has been a vegetarian since he was 14 and converted to being a vegan in 2011.

He has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and is bipolar.

Russell is a devote of Hare Krishna and chants their mantra to help with his drug rehab.

Russell's love of the laydeez...

Russell's prolific, short relationships gained him an award from the UK's top tabloid newspaper, The Sun.

Russell was awarded 'Shagger Of The Year' in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

It has since been renamed 'The Russell Brand Shagger of the Year Award' in his honour.

Katy Perry

Russell first met Katy in 2009 when she filmed a cameo for Get Him to the Greek. Sadly it hit the cutting room floor.

They met again later that year when Russell hosted the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. They hit it off, both having a zany sense of humour and started dating. Russell proposed to Katy at the end of the year while they were on holiday in India.

They married in the October of the following year in a Hindu ceremony near a tiger sanctuary. During the three day long ceremony a tiger got loose but was quickly recaptured.

Sadly, after 14 months of marriage, Russell filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce became final in July 2012 as Californian law has a 6 month wait.

Substance abuse and legal problems

Russell is a recovering alcoholic and heroin and sex addict. He has been clean since 2003 and still regularly attends both NA and AA meetings.

In 2010, Russell was arrested after he allegedly went for a paparrazi photographer who blocked his way when he and Katy Perry were trying to catch a flight at LAX. He was let out the next day after paying $20,000.

He arrived in Japan with Katy for her California Dreams tour but was not allowed into the country. He was sent back to America because of his criminal record.

In 2012, a warrant was issued for Russell’s arrest after he allegedly grabbed the cell phone belonging to a Paparazzi photographer and threw it through a window. He should have looked first. The window belonged to a Law firm. Russell went to the police to give himself up and offered to pay for a new window.

Awards

Russell has won a ton of awards!

In 2006 he won: Best Stand Up from Time Out magazine

Best Stand Up from Loaded Laftas and

Best Newcomer at the British Comedy Awards

In 2007 he won Best Television Performer in a Non Acting Role at the 33rd Annual TV and Radio Awards

In 2008 he won Best Live Stand Up at the British Comedy Awards

In 2011 he won Outstanding Contribution to Comedy at the British Comedy Awards.

So, love him or loathe him...

...I hope that you have found this article interesting and learned a little more about our loveable Brit...yes he is exasperating and his own worst enemy but we love him. Well, some of us do. Well I do!!!!! And I’m not alone.

Now's your chance to have your say

So is it love - or loathe?

See results

I hope you enjoyed this Hub - let me know by leaving your comment below - ...has reading this changed your perception of Russell?

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    • faeriesong7 profile image
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      Mary Collings 3 years ago from Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland

      @Tom Maybrier: Hi Tom,

      Yes - many people don't realise that he is actually highly intelligent. That documentary was great...but I was a little uncomfortable with him being so close to his former 'muse'. I just hope to goodness that he never falls of the wagon. It keeps me awake at night....bless him!

    • faeriesong7 profile image
      Author

      Mary Collings 3 years ago from Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland

      @NickHerc: Aaaah, Infant Sorrow. The first time I heard African Child I couldn't believe it. He is a minx. Thanks for the compliment and the comment Nick. :)

    • NickHerc profile image

      NickHerc 3 years ago

      Infant Sorrow, one of my favorite bands :D. Very nicely done, great lens!

    • Tom Maybrier profile image

      Tom Maybrier 3 years ago

      I think he's hilarious. And his interviews are always great. His documentary on addiction is also very good.

    • faeriesong7 profile image
      Author

      Mary Collings 4 years ago from Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland

      @Sweetbunny LM: Hi Sweetbunny - yes, I loved him in that too. He was so natural that he made the others look like they were acting...bless him :)

    • Sweetbunny LM profile image

      Sweetbunny LM 4 years ago

      Enjoyed Russell in Forgetting Sarah Marshall! Great lens!

    • faeriesong7 profile image
      Author

      Mary Collings 4 years ago from Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland

      @francescajohnston: Aaaw, thank you francesca. If you liked him in Get Him to the Greek - you have to watch Rock of Ages and Forgetting Sarah Marshall! He's even better in those. So glad he won you over. His royal hotness is not savoured by everyone - he's an acquired taste - but once he wins you over...oh boy!!!

    • francescajohnston profile image

      francescajohnston 4 years ago

      I didn't know what to think about Russel Brandt when I first saw him - I thought looked like kind of a phoney jerk. Then I saw his NYC stand up - which was HILARIOUS. I've loved him ever since. Get Him to the Greek is SO FUNNY - one of my favorite comedies. Great Lens! I learned a lot about him and enjoyed the videos.

    • faeriesong7 profile image
      Author

      Mary Collings 4 years ago from Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland

      @DebW07: Thanks Deb - I'm so glad that you liked it :)

    • profile image

      DebW07 4 years ago

      Looks like you covered everything there is to know about Russell Brand and more! Interesting lens and very well done.

    • faeriesong7 profile image
      Author

      Mary Collings 4 years ago from Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland

      @Faye Rutledge: Oops, sorry, my response to you has gone into general comments. That'll teach me to post when I haven't even had coffee yet!

    • faeriesong7 profile image
      Author

      Mary Collings 4 years ago from Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland

      @takkhisa: Thank you so much takkhis. Yes, he is multitalented. I think he's one of our best exports :)

    • faeriesong7 profile image
      Author

      Mary Collings 4 years ago from Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland

      Thank you partybuzz. I'm so happy that you liked the lens. It's interesting that you love and can't stand him. I find most people either love or loathe! I sometimes think he's his own worst enemy but it's that unpredictability that makes him so fascinating. He's a very bright man...most of the time :)

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      Great lens on Russell Brand! Well, he is talented :)

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 4 years ago from Concord VA

      I both love him and can't stand him. Ha! He's a great actor and I learned a lot about him here that I never knew. Great lens.